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Emotion and Pluralism (Two Proceedings Papers 0151 and 0156)


13:40 - 14:40 on Tuesday, 6 September 2011 in 9.90
0151 The Development of a Rich Multimedia Training Environment for Crisis Management: Using Emotional Affect to Enhance Learning Liz Bacon, Gill Windall, Lachlan MacKinnon
0156 Stepping beyond the paradigm wars: Pluralist methods for research in learning technology Chris Jones, Gregor Kennedy
0151 The Development of a Rich Multimedia Training Environment for Crisis Management: Using Emotional Affect to Enhance Learning Liz Bacon, Gill Windall, Lachlan MacKinnon

PANDORA is an EU FP7-funded project developing a novel training and learning environment for Gold Commanders, individuals who carry executive responsibility for the services and facilities identified as strategically critical e.g. Police, Fire, etc., in crisis management strategic planning situations. A key part of the work for this project is considering the emotional and behavioural state of the trainees, and the creation of more realistic, and thereby stressful, representations of multimedia information to impact on the decision-making of those trainees. Existing training models are predominantly paper-based, table-top exercises, which require an exercise of imagination on the part of the trainees to consider not only the various aspects of a crisis situation but also the impacts of interventions, and remediating actions in the event of the failure of an intervention. However, existing computing models and tools are focused on supporting tactical and operational activities in crisis management, not strategic. Therefore, the PANDORA system will provide a rich multimedia information environment, to provide trainees with the detailed information they require to develop strategic plans to deal with a crisis scenario, and will then provide information on the impacts of the implementation of those plans and provide the opportunity for the trainees to revise and remediate those plans. Since this activity is invariably multi-agency, the training environment must support group-based strategic planning activities and trainees will occupy specific roles within the crisis scenario. The system will also provide a range of non-playing characters (NPC) representing domain experts, high-level controllers (e.g. politicians, ministers), low-level controllers (tactical and operational commanders), and missing trainee roles, to ensure a fully populated scenario can be realised in each instantiation. Within the environment, the emotional and behavioural state of the trainees will be monitored, and interventions, in the form of environmental information controls and mechanisms impacting on the stress levels and decision-making capabilities of the trainees, will be used to personalise the training environment. This approach enables a richer and more realistic representation of the crisis scenario to be enacted, leading to better strategic plans, and providing trainees with structured feedback on their performance under stress.

0156 Stepping beyond the paradigm wars: Pluralist methods for research in learning technology Chris Jones, Gregor Kennedy

This paper outlines a problem we have found in our own practice when we have been developing new researchers at post-graduate level. When students begin research training and practice, they are often confused between different levels of thinking when they are faced with methods, methodologies and research paradigms. We argue that this confusion arises from the way research methods are taught, embedded and embodied in educational systems. We set out new ways of thinking about levels of research in the field of learning technology. We argue for a problem driven/pragmatic approach to research and consider the range of methods that can be applied as diverse lenses to particular research problems. The problem of developing a coherent approach to research and research methods is not confined to research in learning technology because it is arguably a problem for all educational research and one that also affects an even wider range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary subject areas. For the purposes of this paper we will discuss the problem in relation to research in learning technologies and make a distinction between developmental and basic research that we think is particularly relevant in this field.

The paradigms of research adopted have real consequences for the ways research problems are conceived and articulated, and the ways in which research is conducted. This has become an even more pressing concern in the challenging funding climate that researchers now face. We argue that there is not a simple 1 to 1 relationship between levels and most particularly that there usually is not a direct association of particular methods with either a philosophical outlook or paradigm of research. We conclude by recommending a pluralist approach to thinking about research problems and we illustrate this with the suggestion that we should encourage researchers to think in terms of counter-positives. If the researcher suggests one way of doing research in an area, we suggest that they should then set out an opposing research approach from another perspective or paradigm. We link this conclusion to the provision of research training and the kinds of curricula that might be offered and we argue against the superficial and box ticking ‘coverage’ of different standard research perspectives e.g. ‘qualitative methods’ – ‘qualitative methods’